Virgins of Paradise is a magnificent saga about the women in a rich, aristocratic Egyptian family, by the author of Green City in the Sun and The Dreaming. This is a sensuous, romantic, exciting novel of women in search of identity amid historic change, and a fascinating portrait of an ancient nation mired in superstition, magic and mythology as it emerges into the modern era.
Jasmine and Camelia Rasheed grow to womanhood under the watchful eye of their grandmother inside the walls surrounding a beautiful house on Virgins of Paradise Street in exotic Cairo. They come of age in society in which the subjugation of women is assumed – they must wear veils, are forbidden to leave the house, have no independent rights, and are circumcised to ensure purity and obedience. Each embarks on turbulent personal and professional voyages of discovery: Jasmine, cast out of the family, comes to America; and Camilia sets out to become one of the most famous dancers in the Middle East.